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Moving from transaction to engagement

“Mobile enterprise, social business, cloud computing, advanced analytics, and unified communications are converging.”

So begins R “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO at Constellation Research Group, in a short and sweet blog post entitled Moving from Transaction to Engagement. In the post, originally published on Harvard Business Review, Wang distills several sea changes across the enterprise down to one key thesis: consumerization of IT in the enterprise is fundamentally transforming business models by changing the way businesses form and maintain relationships.
(Note: Hearsay Social CIO in Residence Jim Lee has more to say about the consumerization of IT.)
In essence, we’re shifting from half century old transactional systems to engagement systems fueled by today’s rich social environment.
Further along in his post, Wang outlines the nine common traits that all engagement systems have in common. For example, his first point is one we often tell CIOs and CMOs seeking to go social: before you dive into the social conversation, you should listen to what your customers are already saying about you. Another major requirement (see #6) is that social integrate into all other technology, marketing, and other business initiatives. Multichannel is a must.
Because we think his points would be so well received by our readers, we’ve provided them in full here:

  1. Design for sense and response. Engagement systems “listen” to assess status, sentiment, and context. For example, detection of negative sentiment could lead to a discount on your next purchase or a proactive phone call to address an issue. These systems go beyond transactional systems that focus on reliability, stability, and continuous improvement.
  2. Address massive social scale. Engagement systems seek to master social networks. Social scale requires constant feedback from networks of people and objects. LinkedIn is an example of how we connect, collaborate, and share with each other in a career aligned social network. Transactional systems focus on addressing massive computing scale.
  3. Foster conversation. Engagement systems support two-way conversations. Chat, video, and sharing features enable conversations among individuals, teams, and even machines. Transactional systems push one-way communications in a dictatorial approach
  4. Utilize a multitude of media styles for user experience. Engagement systems embrace the multi-media, social-led user experience. Media channels include Twitter, video, text, and “likes.” Transactional systems limit themselves to machine based interfaces.
  5. Deliver speed in real time. Engagement systems focus on real-time speed. Users can see activity streams, real-time alerts, and notifications on all their devices. Transactional systems aim for just-in-time delivery.
  6. Reach to multi-channel networks. Engagement systems touch corporate, personal, and machine based networks. A Skype call or instant message reaches out to both the corporate directory and your own personal network. Transactional systems narrowly focus on departmental and corporate networks.
  7. Factor in new types of information management. Engagement systems embrace loosely structured knowledge flows. Comments, audio files, videos, and chats don’t fit neatly into corporate relational tables. Transactional systems ensure reliability of highly structured records and data.
  8. Apply a richer social orientation. Engagement systems by nature rely on heavy social orientation. The design natively incorporates social media tools such as RSS feeds, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Transactional systems express a tangential or just plain awkward social orientation.
  9. Rely on smarter intelligence. Engagement systems are powered by business rules and complex event processing engines. Users can change the flow of a task using visual tools. Transactional systems remain in a hard coded, rigid structured approach.

Read the original post here and also be sure to visit R “Ray” Wang’s website, A Software Insider’s Point of View.

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